Hemingway's house, cats survive Hurricane Irma - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Hemingway's house, cats survive Hurricane Irma

One of the famous polydactyl cats at the Hemingway House in Key West. (Source: CNN) One of the famous polydactyl cats at the Hemingway House in Key West. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - Among the cutest and most vulnerable residents in Hurricane Irma's path were the dozens of cats that make their home at novelist Ernest Hemingway's former residence in Key West, and they've been reported safe.

The cats and staff of the Hemingway House sheltered inside the historic home on Key West, which was expected to get the maximum brunt of Irma's wind, despite repeated warnings from meteorologists, government officials and Hemingway's granddaughter Mariel.

But Dave Gonzales, the curator of the museum, stayed put with the cats and reported to MSNBC on Sunday night that the home, staff and all 54 cats survived.

"The cats seemed to be more aware sooner of the storm coming in," Gonzales said. "In fact, when we started to round up the cats and take them inside, some of them actually ran inside knowing it was time to take shelter. Sometimes I think they're smarter than the human beings."

The home was built in 1851 of 18-inch thick limestone blocks, which Gonzales citing as making it a safe place to shelter during a hurricane. Hemingway lived in the home from 1931 and owned it until his death in 1961.

Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm at Cudjoe Key, about 20 miles east of Key West, sparing it of the most intense winds. The storm surge was also smaller than expected.

The island, however, suffered significant damage. Gonzales said there is no electricity, running water or internet service due to the storm. He said three generators are running to provide power to the historic site.

The cats are a famous attraction at the home due to a genetic abnormality called polydactyly that gives them six toes. Some of the cats are said to be direct descendants of Hemingway's own six-toed cat, Snow White.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • National, world weatherWeather and disaster coverageMore>>

  • breaking

    23 injured after explosion hurls 'basketball-sized' lava bomb onto tour boat

    23 injured after explosion hurls 'basketball-sized' lava bomb onto tour boat

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 12:03 AM EDT2018-07-17 04:03:48 GMT

    At least one person was transported to a hospital after a lava explosion near a tour boat off Kapoho on Monday morning, according to Big Island fire officials. 

    At least one person was transported to a hospital after a lava explosion near a tour boat off Kapoho on Monday morning, according to Big Island fire officials. 

  • Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park

    Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park

    Sunday, July 15 2018 2:04 PM EDT2018-07-15 18:04:23 GMT
    Monday, July 16 2018 2:54 PM EDT2018-07-16 18:54:32 GMT
    (Andrew Kuhn /The Merced Sun-Star via AP). Crews battle the Ferguson Fire along steep terrain behind the Redbud Lodge along Highway 140 near El Portal in Mariposa County, Calif., on Saturday, July 14, 2018.(Andrew Kuhn /The Merced Sun-Star via AP). Crews battle the Ferguson Fire along steep terrain behind the Redbud Lodge along Highway 140 near El Portal in Mariposa County, Calif., on Saturday, July 14, 2018.

    A wildfire that killed a California firefighter has grown quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park.

    A wildfire that killed a California firefighter has grown quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park.

  • Greenland village watches looming iceberg, weather forecast

    Greenland village watches looming iceberg, weather forecast

    Sunday, July 15 2018 11:02 AM EDT2018-07-15 15:02:46 GMT
    Sunday, July 15 2018 11:34 AM EDT2018-07-15 15:34:23 GMT
    (Magnus Kristensen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP). CAPTION CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER BYLINE In this Thursday, July 12, 2018 photo, a view of an Iceberg, near the village Innarsuit, on the northwestern Greenlandic coast. Scientists have watched an iceberg four mile...(Magnus Kristensen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP). CAPTION CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER BYLINE In this Thursday, July 12, 2018 photo, a view of an Iceberg, near the village Innarsuit, on the northwestern Greenlandic coast. Scientists have watched an iceberg four mile...
    Low-lying areas of a village in northwestern Greenland remain evacuated as villagers and local authorities monitor a vast iceberg for signs it could move closer or break apart, threatening the remote settlement.
    Low-lying areas of a village in northwestern Greenland remain evacuated as villagers and local authorities monitor a vast iceberg for signs it could move closer or break apart, threatening the remote settlement.
Powered by Frankly